I’ve been asked a few times why Hyack Interactive doesn’t have an active Facebook Page. It’s a fair question; how can I coach someone to use Facebook for their business if I don’t have a Page for my own? It’s a question I quite like getting, to be honest, because the answer helps me illustrate one of my fundamental beliefs in the work I do:
It is critical for each business owner to make an honest assessment on what social tools are the best fit for their company, rather than trying to be everywhere for everyone.
Today, I thought I would share the questions I asked myself when performing this assessment for Hyack Interactive. I revisit these questions annually when I sit down and strategize about what my goals are for the upcoming year as a business owner. There are lots of factors one might consider, but I consider three together when I think about Hyack Interactive’s presence online: Resources, Purpose, and Audience.
Resources: What do I have to give?
Time: I work about 15 hours a week, fitting in my work around my family’s needs and believe my work/life balance is at an optimum. But not working a typical 40 hour week limits the time I spend online on behalf of my business, as opposed to on behalf of a client.
Content: Another important question is, what content do I create that I’d like to share? Most of what I generate is confidential client work, however I do blog on Hyack Interactive’s website, in response to client questions as they come up. On Twitter, I share links to articles I’ve enjoyed from a number of sources – some gained through Feedly and others through Twitter connections. While I am personally quite active on Facebook, the content I have to share on behalf of Hyack Interactive is not generally from Facebook. It is mostly links and few, if any, photos or videos. Facebook suggests photos and videos as optimum content for business pages, and I know I don’t really have those to offer.
Budget: Finally, am I willing to outsource this work to someone as a business expense? In my case, no. There are great circumstances in which you should hire someone (like us!) who can do a great job of representing your business online with consistent and honest engagement. For example, if the potential benefits outweigh the limited time you personally have, but you have budget to hire someone, even part-time on one high-value channel, then it’s definitely something to consider. For me, it is not a good use of the resources I have at my disposal, when I factor in the answers to the next questions.
Purpose: What do I hope to gain?
There are a lot of reasons why brands, non-profits, and businesses should be online and actively engaging with people. If I ask myself “What am I hoping will happen for Hyack Interactive as a result of spending time online?”, I think, connecting with potential or existing clients and connecting with peers or colleagues to learn from are two possible benefits. An important question to ask at the same time is: are there already avenues I’m putting effort into so that I might accomplish those goals?
There can be good reasons for duplicating your efforts to reach the same goal. If your audiences in both places are distinct and separate, for example, it makes sense. In Hyack Interactive’s case, I feel I am adequately reaching my target audience to achieve my goals through other efforts. I get much of my business through referrals or personal contacts, I send a quarterly newsletter to existing clients with news and tips, I actively network in-person, and I try to participate in at least two seminars per year for ongoing learning and connecting with peers. Therefore, the possible goals of a Hyack Interactive Facebook Page is being met through other resourcing.
Audience: Who do I hope to reach?
I believe in in-person meetings wherever possible to kick off work and celebrate the end of or significant milestones of a project. The people I want to reach out to in my work are usually connected directly to me already, or ones I connect to in specific and established ways. Most of my work now comes from referrals or personal connections, something I work hard to maintain. What I coach isn’t particularly proprietary, because what I preach is common sense and thoughtful, genuine use of social media based on a client’s individual needs. I have preferences for tools and execution, for sure, but I don’t have must-do’s for every client. As a result, when I measure my resources and purpose in the context of my target audience, I don’t believe a Facebook Page will let me reach them in a more significant way than how I am reaching them now.
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I hope that provides a bit of clarity about why I don’t have a Facebook Page for my business! Thoughtful assessment and planning can go a long way in determining the right place for you to connect with your audience, and in the end save you resources. Feel free to use this post as a template for your own assessment, or get in touch if you’d like some help to facilitate this conversation with your team.
PS: An earlier version of this post indicated there was no Facebook Page at all for Hyack Interactive. This is actually now incorrect – I was required to make one when Facebook updated how advertising worked. So now there is one, but I still don’t post to it.